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Nut Bans on aeroplanes – Allergy UK’s point of view

Amena Warner, Head of Clinical Services at Allergy UK, says:

A complete nut ban would be incredibly difficult for all airlines to implement and enforce because even if the airline did not carry or serve nuts themselves, it would be virtually impossible for them to check whether their passengers have brought nut products with them onto a flight. If airlines make an announcement asking people to refrain from eating nuts, there needs to be a good comprehension of the language giving the instruction for compliance.

We know from our supporters that many nut allergy sufferers are very concerned about the risk of airborne peanut particles. However, there is research which shows that there is more likely to be contamination from people eating peanuts and not washing their hands.  A reaction can be caused when the allergic individual touches surfaces, such as arm rests or drop-down tables, which may have residual peanut particles.  

This means that even if a fellow passenger adhered to the nut ban, if they have eaten nuts in the airport before boarding the plane a risk of cross contamination still remains. While a nut ban may certainly be part of the answer, our main concern is that people boarding a nut-free flight may mistakenly feel that they are safer than may be the case.

Our main objective is to support those with allergic disease and we recommend that anyone who is anxious or is looking for practical advice before travelling, whether it be on an aeroplane, a train, a coach, or a boat, to contact our helpline on 01322 619898. 

We have a factsheet about travelling with allergy that can be downloaded from our Living With Allergy page found here"

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